After the announcement of Comic-Con International’s own streaming service called Comic-Con HQ, some have wondered if Nerd HQ will be back this July during SDCC like it has the past five years. As of yet there has been no confirmation but then again we didn’t get confirmation of last year’s Nerd HQ until mid May. At the moment Nerd HQ/ The Nerd Machine co-founder Zachary Levi is busy starring in the Broadway musical ‘She Loves Me’ until July 10th 2016. But since San Diego Comic-Con International doesn’t start until preview night on 19th July, 2016, he still has over a week to rest and help finish prep for Nerd HQ, if there is going to be one held this year.
Although the official Twitter account for The Nerd Machine might have given a potential hint that planning is currently happening on a potential Nerd HQ this July.
For me and many others Nerd HQ was the first of its kind to live stream exclusive panels during SDCC. But what most people loved about Nerd HQ was the intimate setting of the panels for those lucky enough to be able to get a hold of a ticket to be seated in person during their panels. While Hall H, Ballroom 20, The Indigo Ballroom etc are ever as popular as they can hold thousands of attendees, sometimes you feel like you have to squint (unless you look at the screens provided near the stage) to be able to see the panelists from your seat. Plus fans love to be as close as possible to their idols and unless you camped overnight in the queue to be in the first few rows then the close proximity just isn’t always available.
This is when Nerd HQ stepped in and saved the day, especially for those who can’t experience Hall H etc as they couldn’t get a Comic-Con International badge. With Nerd HQ each panel was limited to around 200 seats instead of thousands which meant that no matter which seat you had, you could still see the stage and the panelists. Yes you could be within reaching distance of panels guests, the past guests included: Joss Whedon, Jared Padelecki, Jensen Ackles, Nathan Fillion, Guillermo Del Toro, Alan Tudyk, Stephen Amell, Tom Hiddleston etc. Although their was a problem last year at the Children’s Museum venue in that the stage seemed too low, so if a tall person sat in front of you then your view of the stage was partially blocked. I’m hoping that if Nerd HQ is back this year that they will sort out a tiered seating such as what they had at Petco stadium or use a raised stage so that everybody has a clear view of the stage.
Syfy could be direct competition if Nerd HQ is back this year as Syfy have recently announced that they will be live streaming their own interviews with guests from their upcoming new shows, films and new seasons of their current programming. However Nerd HQ will still have the advantage of having interviews with guests outside of the Syfy network since Syfy would mainly cater with guests from their own shows. No matter what to us Nerd HQ will always be the original and best.
Also I doubt the Syfy live tapings will be anywhere as intimate as Nerd HQ as they will most likely be held in event spaces that can cater up to a few thousand. It will probably be more like the almost 1500 seat capacity of Spreckles Theatre during live tapings of Conan during SDCC. Nerd HQ caters to a few hundred and thus feels much closer to the audience capacity of a live taping of The Big Bang Theory. Plus Nerd HQ panels seem more casual as the panelists can be themselves, there is no moderator so you can ask them anything. It’s like having a casual conversation between friends. You just wouldn’t get that anywhere else at San Diego Comic-Con International.
By the way for those interested Syfy will be offering SDCC attendees the opportunity to attend the live tapings of their shows during SDCC at San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina, most likely in their newly built event space with a capacity to hold 3718 people. Syfy have yet to release details on how to acquire tickets for the live tapings.
Conan will also be back SDCC this year for live tapings , details on how to obtain tickets have yet to be released.
The biggest difference by far is that Nerd HQ helps the charity Operation Smile, the donations made from photo ops, ticket sales and auctions go straight to Operation Smile. For more information on the charity or to make a donation click here.
Nerd HQ has had problems the past few years getting the finance it requires through sponsorship, crowdfunding, merchandise etc to be able to run their event during SDCC. It is an event built to help Operation Smile but even then Nerd HQ can’t get everything it requires from volunteers, donations and sponsorship. To make sure they can maximize the amount of money going to the charity Operation Smile, they need to be able to pay expenses to be able to run Nerd HQ during SDCC.
It doesn’t help matters when prices of rent in San Diego keeps increasing, how is a small organisation able to survive with such price hikes? Other than paying for a venue,it takes a lot of money to be able to run Nerd HQ which is why as much as they and their fans would love to have it every year at SDCC, with each passing year it becomes more and more difficult. One of the main expenses I imagine of running an event like Nerd HQ would be insurance. Being a public event they would have to factor in public liability insurance , they would need to be covered should somebody get injured on the premises during Nerd HQ. Another expense they probably have to consider is transport and insurance to cover that too, let’s not forget parking expenses as well. After all they need to way to be able to transport their panel guests and other important personal to and from the venue. For security reasons, I mean they don’t want to be mobbed by a crowd of fans, they need to be able to transport them from the convention center or their hotels to the Nerd HQ venue. This is also time efficient as guests could be heading straight from a panel in the convention center straight to another panel at Nerd HQ. Within Comic-Con International timing is a huge deciding factor on which guests Nerd HQ is able to obtain for their panels.
Nerd HQ is an event that’s also possible due to the fans, fans who give up their free time to volunteer to help ensure the smooth running of Nerd HQ during SDCC. However employees of Nerd HQ would still need paid as they don’t simply work for a few days during SDCC for Nerd HQ, they work for The Nerd Machine the rest of the year. They spend lots of time leading up to SDCC to prepare for Nerd HQ, as much as I imagine Zachary Levi and co volunteering as much as they can themselves, they still need money to survive the rest of the year. Nerd HQ after all is a small part of their main business, The Nerd Machine.
Another big expense they would have to consider is equipment hire, all those PA systems, screens, projectors, microphones, cameras, two way radios, internet access,computers etc that is required to run Nerd HQ. This is an expense they couldn’t do without as then you wouldn’t have a live streaming service available.
Not to mention other expenses they would need finance for Nerd HQ including telephone/cell phone (mobile phone) bills, medical fees (it is a public event after all), printing, promotion, utility bills, office expenses and catering. Let’s not also forget the expense to create those RIFD wristbands for last years event. Here’s hoping if Nerd HQ comes back this year that the RIFD process will run more smoothly this year and not create bottleneck queues.
This is why I think each year Nerd HQ requires finance from sponsorship deals, donations, and merchandise sales so that the necessary expenses to run Nerd HQ can be paid. Once they have the necessary finance paid then any money made after is donated to Operation Smile. You don’t see charitable deeds like that happening from Comic-Con HQ, Syfy, Conan etc so make sure you put your support to make sure Nerd HQ happens this year. The kids that benefit from Operation Smile needs you!!
UPDATE: On 13th May 2016, The Nerd Machine confirmed on their official Twitter account that Nerd HQ will be back this year at San Diego Comic-Con International.
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